Cabbages and condoms, literally

SONGKHLA: In Bangkok there is a popular restaurant chain known as Cabbages and Condoms, brainchild of well-known activist Mechai Viravaidya (aka “Mr Condom”), who has been internationally lauded for his efforts to promote condom use as a way of stopping HIV/Aids.

At the restaurant, condoms, rather than mints, are served after meals.

The efforts to bring together vegetables and prophylactics has yet to catch on in the southern city of Haad Yai, however.

Customers at a fresh market there were given a nasty shock recently when they found bundles of vegetables they had bought were held together with condoms.

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On June 22, 36-year-old Sudjai Phromlet bought a bundle of vegetables at Plaza Market in downtown Haad Yai and took them home for his wife to make dinner.

As she was unwrapping them, however, she suddenly called out to him in disgust and, somewhat melodramatically, vomited all over the kitchen, Mr Sudjai said.

Mr Sudjai’s wife showed him that the bundle of vegetables was tied up with part of a condom instead of the usual elastic band. On closer examination, it turned out the market trader had tied the vegetables with the rubber ring from the base of the condom, though there were still a few bits of the sheath hanging off.

The disgusted Mr Sudjai then contacted a local journalist to go and investigate.

The journalist and Mr Sudjai headed back to the stall where the offending bundle of vegetables had been bought.

At the stall, belonging to 51-year-old Porn Kaowmanee, they found all the bundles of vegetables on sale were tied together with contraceptive devices.

Mrs Porn admitted she had indeed used condoms to tie up bundles of vegetables, though she insisted the johnnies were clean and unused. She said this was the first time she had tried using condoms to tie her produce.

She had run out of elastic bands and lived a long way from the shop, so instead of traveling all the way to buy new ones, she asked her daughter-in-law to bring some condoms in from the condom factory where she works. Haad Yai is the centre of Thailand’s rubber production industry, which is a world leader in condom production.

Mrs Porn said all the condoms used were defective products that had never been near a penis.

She never thought her customers would find having their vegetables tied up with condoms disgusting or unhygienic in any way. Despite the condoms working just as well as rubber bands, Mrs Porn said she would go back to using elastic bands to avoid losing any more customers.

Thailand News
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